Patel appointed judge president

2011-11-22 17:37

Cape Town - Chimanlal Narotam Patel was appointed as the judge president of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court, President Jacob Zuma's office said on Tuesday.

"The Honourable Mr Justice Chimanlal Narotam Patel [is] judge president of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court, Durban, with immediate effect in an existing vacancy," the president's office said.

Patel was the front-runner for the post.

In his interview for the position with the Judicial Services Commission, he dismissed calls for his race to play a role in his selection for the job.

"If he has the qualities of leader then he is able to lead," Patel said in response to a question from a commissioner on there being no Indian judge presidents in South Africa.

"My colleagues feel I have that. I have no difficulties."

Patel, who has sat on the Supreme Court of Appeal, was once a lecturer of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng at the then University of Natal.

He was appointed acting judge president of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court more than a year ago, after the death of judge president Herbert Msimang.

He was also nominated for the position by 14 judges in the division and had the support of the KwaZulu-Natal Bar.

However, a small faction of judges and the Black Lawyers' Association in Pietermaritzburg favoured Judge Njabuliseni Madondo for the post.

Patel, who has been on the bench for 12 years, said transformation was "a big challenge" to all divisions in South Africa.

In its statement, the office of the president also said that Judge Khayelihle Kenneth Mthiyane had been appointed as the deputy president of the Supreme Court of Appeal, with effect from December 1.

Other appointments included:

- Glenn Graham Goosen as a judge of the Eastern Cape High Court, Grahamstown.
- Johannes Petrus Daffue and Lepono Joshua Lekale as judges of the Free State High Court, Bloemfontein.
- Jacqueline Irene Henriques, Zaba Philip Nkosi and Rashid Abdul Kader Vahed as judges of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court, Durban.
- Ellem Jacob Francis and Roland Terence Sutherland as judges of the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.
- Tshifhiwa Anthony Maumela and Mmonoa Jowie Teffo as judges of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
- Zolashe Mzilikazi Lallie and Hilary Rabkin-Naicker as judges of the Labour Court.
- Buyiswa Majiki as a member of the Electoral Court.

"I wish all the judicial officers all the best in discharging their responsibility in this important arm of the state and in furtherance of our constitutional democracy," Zuma said.